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Employee Spotlight: Justin Smith, RCBS and Weaver

You could say his career began as a 5-year-old, when he’d join his dad in the reloading shed.

“Dad wouldn’t let me run the powder measurer or the press, but I could lube the cases, run the bullet sizer. I’ve been around reloading my whole life,” he said. 

Justin Smith, Product Manager for RCBS and Weaver, said some of his earliest memories were helping his dad reload. Fast-forward 40-some years, Justin says his career path was beyond anything he had dreamed. One, he says, that he never ‘planned’ at all. 
“I never came up with a 3-, 5- or 7-year road map of where I wanted to end up. Instead, I followed my interests and related them to my pastimes,” he said. He closely followed his passion and drive for the outdoors to where he is today.  

Justin started with Cabela’s in the fall of 1995 while going to college to be a wildlife biologist. When Bass Pro Shops purchased Cabela’s, Justin decided to step away from his comfort zone after almost 22 years with the company, and made a shift to Vista Outdoor just over four years ago.

“I never dreamed I’d find work with the brands I use all the time. There’s huge satisfaction in being a part of an iconic brand. RCBS is a market leader in reloading, and I’m proud to be here,” he said.

Justin started as the Trade Marketing Manager for Shooting Accessories in October 2018 and was promoted to Product Manager at RCBS and Weaver in April this year. He works in the Overland Park office, a 7.5-hour drive from the Nebraska farm he grew up on.


Justin has hunted his whole life and received his first gun when he was four years old.

“I’ve hunted 17 western states and two Canadian Providences.  I really enjoy big game hunting and upland hunting with Ruby.”

It’s clear Justin lives for the outdoors, but not alone – in recent years anyway. Ruby, his Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, goes with him everywhere. Not only on bird hunts, but big game hunts. And not just hunting ventures, but fishing outings, too. And the grocery store. Post office, and daily 2- to 4-mile walks and runs.

“I don’t go anywhere without her. I’ve had her since she was nine weeks old. We have a special bond,” he said.

Justin and his wife, Amber, enjoy attending Nebraska Husker football and volleyball games and just about anything to do with the outdoors with their 17-year-old twin children (Kolton and Alayna), Ruby and second dog, Marley.

And, as one might wonder, when Justin makes the drive home to the farm, he’s sure to visit the reloading shed with his dad, where the big green machine is still in use.

 

FAST FACTS:

Last book you read?
The Motive - Patrick Lencioni

Most likely to buy in bulk?  
Ammo

How you’d spend a day off with no obligations:
Spending time in the outdoors with Ruby (My Wirehaired Pointing Griffon).  She literally goes everywhere with me.

Best concert you’ve been to?
Jason Aldean

Favorite holiday, and why?
Christmas, I get to spend some time with family.

What does a person need to be happy in your opinion?
Work life balance. I recently went to Nebraska to hunt. I brought my dog and it was a great time to unplug from technology. I put my phone away, took a break from work and recharged. You need to step away from technology, your phone, work and social media once in a while.

Something you’re looking forward to?
I go hunting out west every fall. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends.

Where is the most special place you’ve been?
I really enjoy the mountains in western Wyoming.

Best advice you’ve gotten?
“We will sell to our worst enemy as long as it is profitable and we make money.” -A VP at Cabela’s 

Something most people at work don’t know about you?
Something on my bucket list is to go parasailing, buggee jumping or skydiving.

Your greatest adventure?
In 2009 I went on a 14-day backpack Dall Sheep and Moose hunt in Alaska. It was the most challenging hunt of my life but also one of the most rewarding. I pushed myself further than I ever thought I could and the evening I shot my ram I watched the Northern Lights light up the sky as we field dressed my ram and hauled him 11 miles on our backs off of the mountain and back to base camp.  

A good friend who had been on quite a few sheep hunts told me “Justin remember this when you are on your sheep hunt. When you are totally spent, you don’t have one ounce of energy left, you are beyond exhausted and don’t think you can take another step you are only half there.”  So true.